Rangers, deputies to step up parking enforcement in American Fork Canyon

Jul 14, 2022, 11:41 PM

AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah — Even on a gray day at Tibble Fork Reservoir, finding a spot along the shoreline can be difficult and finding a parking spot can be even tougher.

“It’s definitely been harder over the years, I feel like, to get a good spot,” said Sam Mann, who was out enjoying the summer weather Thursday with a friend.

Mann said, though, the difficulty finding parking on a weekday only pales in comparison to the weekend.

“Yeah, (there’s) basically no parking,” Mann said. “You have to, I guess, wait for a spot and kind of do laps until you can find something. It’s pretty chaotic most of the time.”

To help curb the chaos, U.S. Forest Service rangers and Utah County Sheriff’s deputies were planning to ramp up parking enforcement efforts in American Fork Canyon as early as this weekend, with a larger rollout set for July 22.

“If your vehicle is illegally parked, impeding any traffic, blocking access to any areas, your vehicle will be towed,” said Suzie Tenhagen, recreation fee program manager at the Pleasant Grove Ranger District.

Tenhagen said the situation has become untenable around the reservoir as well as other popular camping areas.

“Especially on the weekends, we’re finding that the parking lot (at the reservoir) will be full, people will start illegally parking,” Tenhagen said. “They’ll start parking in the no-parking zones, they’ll start parking up the Mineral Basin Road — which is Forest Road 085. They’ll park right in the lane of travel and that causes an impediment to other visitors. Emergency vehicles can’t get through to respond, Forest Service personnel and other visitors can’t get through to visit other areas and do our general maintenance duties.”

The potential for slowing up responding emergency personnel was of notable concern to Tenhagen.

“We’ve had issues before where a search and rescue team had to take motorcycles up past cars that have been parked like that because they couldn’t get the ambulance, they couldn’t get the vehicles needed to respond to that person that was injured up there.”

Tenhagen hoped those visiting the canyon would get the message and park legally.

“We can’t have it continue,” Tenhagen said.

Mann said the enforcement efforts certainly couldn’t hurt the situation.

“I think it’s probably a good idea if they’re not parked legally,” Mann said. “Like I said, it’s really chaotic, so maybe it will be good to kind of calm it down some.”

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Rangers, deputies to step up parking enforcement in American Fork Canyon